A worldwide debate over the potential status of glyphosate as a possible carcinogen has inspired testimonies from Australian growers in defence of the popular herbicide.
Fruit and vegetable producers have been contacting MPs in their electorates to highlight the importance of glyphosate to their businesses and the broader agricultural sector.
There are over 500 products in the Australian market that contain glyphosate which are used across a wide range of agricultural industries from broadacre crop production and sugarcane production to intensive horticulture.
Growcom supports the findings of our national regulator, the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA), which has pronounced Glyphosate is safe for human, animal and environmental health when used according to its label instructions.
Despite clear and overwhelming scientific evidence supporting its safe use, a recent court ruling in America backed the State of California’s push to list the herbicide, the active ingredient in weed killer Roundup, as a possible cause of cancer.
On April 19, a Californian court of appeal ruled against chemical juggernaut Monsanto and enforced the state’s prohibition against discharging it into public waterways.
The decision sparked intense discussion among industry with most growers claiming glyphosate is an essential part of their grazing and cropping operations to manage noxious weeds.
Since the product’s launch 40 years ago, glyphosate has made it possible for the Australian broadacre cropping sector to adopt conservation tillage and move away from cultivation to prepare the soil. This means farmers do not disrupt the root system via tillage, therefore minimising soil disruption and enhancing water use efficiency. It also means less machinery operation which reduces emissions and is good for the environment.
Most Australian farmers stand by the product and claim they wouldn’t use it in a manner that they believed would be harmful to their health.
In the past three years alone science-based regulators in the European Union, South Korea, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the United States have publicly reaffirmed that glyphosate does not cause cancer.
In addition, the APVMA and Food Standard Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) set science-based guidelines to govern crop Maximum Residue Limits to ensure the safety of consumers.